American Bar Association House of Delegates

Application Information    Current Delegates

In 2017, the State Bar will consider the new appointment and/or reappointment of six (6) State Bar delegates, and one or more alternates to the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates. Incumbents who have served less than three consecutive terms may apply for reappointment.

The House of Delegates is the policy-making body of the ABA and meets twice a year, at the ABA Mid-Year and ABA Annual Meetings. The State Bar appoints a total of 11 delegates, one of whom serves as the young lawyer representative. The young lawyer delegate must be less than 35 years of age at the beginning of his or her term.  The State Bar's delegates are part of the California delegation, headed by the elected State Delegate.  Other delegates of the California delegation include those appointed by local bar associations, ABA sections and divisions, and former officers and ABA board members.

State Bar delegates:

  • serve staggered two-year terms, beginning and ending upon adjourment of the ABA Annual Meeting in August;
  • are required to pay their own travel expenses;
  • are expected to attend the House of Delegates meetings at the ABA Mid-Year and Annual Meetings and on occasion, participate in conference calls;
  • must be ABA members in good standing throughout their tenure as delegates.

In addition to the annual delegate appointments, the State Bar may also select one or more alternates to serve in place of any appointed delegate who is unable to attend the Mid-Year or Annual Meeting. State Bar alternates:

  • remain in the alternate pool for one year and may be contacted on short notice to fill-in for delegates at either the ABA Mid-Year or Annual Meeting;
  • must be members in good standing of the ABA in order to be certified and serve as replacement delegates;
  • have no official standing with the ABA unless certified by the State Bar to replace a delegate at the Mid-Year or Annual Meeting. If asked to replace a delegate, the alternate will be responsible for his/her own travel expenses to attend the ABA meetings.


Those applying for reappointment and new applicants are to submit the current State Bar's 2017-2018 Appointments Application. In their applications, applicants should include a description of their recent ABA activities and contributions they have made to the organization. Attendance and service are factors considered for reappointment.

The State Bar's Board of Trustees will consider the ABA appointments at its March 2017 meeting. At its discretion, the designated board committee may conduct interviews of the applicants.

Selection Guidelines:

For its appointments, the Board of Trustees strives to appoint members from its applicant pool meeting the following guidelines:

  • One delegate who qualifies as the young lawyer representative, i.e., less than 35 years of age at the commencement of the term;
  • Up to two delegates to include the most immediate past member of the ABA Board of Governors and any immediate past officer of the ABA from the California ABA Delegation;
  • Two members who have not had substantial volunteer experience but who possess the leadership and other skills to be successful delegation members; and,
  • Six delegates who have substantial bar experience, especially with the ABA, and are typical of other State Bar appointments.

Unless authorized by the Board of Trustees, each member of the State Bar's ABA delegation will be eligible for reappointment to no more than three consecutive two-year appointments or a maximum of six consecutive years of service with the delegation. Delegates who have completed such service may apply in the future after a period of not less than two years from the date of the expiration of the delegate's last term of service with the State Bar.

All members will be encouraged to become broadly participant in ABA activities in order to fully represent the interests of California attorneys.

For additional information on the ABA House of Delegates, please visit the ABA website at

Deadline for 2017 applications: January 27, 2017

2017-18 terms begin: Conclusion of 2017 ABA Annual Meeting (August 15, 2017)